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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The worst replacements in pop culture

By Lynn Hoppes

New Coke vs. Coca-Cola Classic
Coca-Cola Classic was ousted by New Coke in '85. Where does that rank among worst replacements?

Today might be a good day to talk about the worst replacements in pop culture history. Let's get to the countdown.

No. 10. "BEWITCHED"
New: Dick Sargent
Old: Dick York
The buzz: Most people didn't realize that health reasons forced York to leave the popular show, which ran from 1964-1972, in the middle of its sixth season. He had previously injured his back making a movie. If "Bewitched" fans had known the details, they probably would have been nicer to Sargent. In those days, the private lives of actors weren't as publicized as today.

No. 9. "MAJOR LEAGUE II"
New: Omar Epps
Old: Wesley Snipes
The buzz: "Major League II" in 1994 was the sequel to the blockbuster of 1989 about a misfit baseball team. In those five years, Snipes had become a big star on his own and didn't want to take a backseat in "Major League II," which already was going to cost double what the first movie cost. In steps Epps and the movie doesn't perform as well.

8. "DUKES OF HAZZARD"
New: Coy and Vance
Old: Bo and Luke
The buzz: The series was heading into its fifth season, and leads Tom Wopat and John Schneider were in a contract dispute over merchandise sales. Fans and producers thought it would be resolved before shooting began. Wrong. In come Byron Cherry as Coy Duke and Christopher Mayer as Vance Duke. The contract was resolved before the end of the season and Bo and Luke returned. But the show was never the same again.

No. 7. "AMERICAN IDOL"
New: Ellen DeGeneres
Old: Paula Abdul
The buzz: For years, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres talked about how she loved the singing show and wanted to be a part of it. Well, she got her wish and looked really uncomfortable on the show. She couldn't decide which character to be, cheerleader or jackhammer. It's much easier when you're sitting in your living room and criticizing the singers. It's another when you're with them face-to-face. The audience didn't seem to connect and she left after one season.

6. "THE BLUES BROTHERS"
New: "Brother" Zee Blues
Old: "Joliet" Jake E. Blues
The buzz: The band was a creation from a sketch on "Saturday Night Live" in 1976. The originals were John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The duo was so popular that they made "The Blues Brothers." Released in 1980, the movie had a musical cast that included James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Since John Belushi died in 1982, a host of others have been part of the parade of characters in the band, including John's brother James, who created "Zee Blues." Thankfully, no one is trying to take the same name. But the Blues Brothers aren't the same without the originals.

No. 5. JOURNEY
New: Arnel Pineda
Old: Steve Augeri, who replaced Steve Perry
The buzz: It's totally true that band member Neal Schon saw the Filipino singer Pineda on YouTube singing covers of Journey songs and hired him. "When I heard him, it gave me chills," Schon said. It seemed to work; Journey's next album, "Revelation," sold about 200,000 copies in two weeks. And the band has been touring ever since. But you still have to pine for Steve Perry, the original voice with the tightest pants of the 1980s. True fans aren't accepting this replacement.

Topher Grace
Where did you go, Topher Grace?
No. 4. "THAT '70s SHOW"
New: Josh Meyers
Old: Topher Grace
The buzz: "That '70s Show" didn't need to go into the eighth season, but that's what greed does to you. Topher Grace, the lead, was leaving to pursue movies. Ashton Kutcher, the second lead, scaled his role back and became a recurring character, also to pursue outside interests. So the producers decided to bring in Josh Meyers, the real-life younger brother of Seth Meyers ("Saturday Night Live"). And the audience hated him. The once-popular show finished No. 103 for the season.

No. 3. WINDOWS
New: Windows Vista
Old: Windows XP
The buzz: When it comes to computer systems, new should always be good. The hope would be that as time goes on, the technology gets better. Well, here comes Windows Vista, trying to copy some of the styles of Macs. And it failed miserably. The system wasn't compatible with other programs, unless you installed a wide variety of add-ons. Well, the audience was in no mood to continue to spend money for that and switched to Macs in droves.

No. 2. VAN HALEN
New: Gary Cherone
Old: Sammy Hagar, who replaced David Lee Roth
The buzz: The band never really had a problem with the down-to-earth Cherone, who was frontman of the band Extreme. He was a team player and was willing to take a backseat to Eddie Van Halen, even though Cherone was the supposed lead of the band. But the audiences and the label hated him and preferred either of the previous wild men. Cherone lasted one album -- "Van Halen III," which went gold -- and one tour.

No. 1. COKE
New: New Coke
Old: Coca-Cola
The buzz: Why in the world would you ever change the formula of the most successful soft drink ever? Some people thought it was a marketing ploy when the Coca-Cola Company launched the new brand in 1985, and then kept the brand going for more than seven years as Coca-Cola Classic increased the company's leverage in the soft drink business.